Adaptive bit rate streaming relies on video players (on devices) to evaluate network bandwidth and judge whether the current bit rate stream can be sustained with a good QoE. The player determines when it is time to switch to a lower or higher bit rate stream. Yet according to the CDN and multicast ABR specialist Broadpeak, the player has limited information about network congestion compared to the latest generation of streaming servers that rely on modern network transport algorithms. That is why the company is handing centralised control of quality stream selections to media owners on the server side.
The result is S4Streaming – just launched by Broadpeak. This product uses server-side assessments or operator-defined rules and, according to the vendor, enables more precise estimates of QoE and dynamic adaptions. Service providers can change video profiles at any time with S4Streaming. “This is an unparalleled level of control,” Broadpeak declares. The new solution is fully compatible with the existing ABR streaming ecosystem and has proven to be effective in both unicast and multicast ABR environments.
The S4Streaming solution is especially efficient for managing low-latency live video streaming, Broadpeak says. It enables higher bit rates for on-demand content delivery, and decreases video quality changes when network conditions vary.
“The problem with relying on players [to manage streams] is that it can cause uneven end-user experiences, and bandwidth evaluation may not work in the context of low-latency video streaming, further worsening viewer experiences,” Jacques Le Mancq, CEO at Broadpeak, says. “S4Streaming represents an inflection point in the industry, giving service providers full control over how their resources are used so that they can deliver high-quality video streams with low latency.”
S4 Streaming includes an innovative home network orchestration feature that allows service providers to dynamically distribute bandwidth resources among different devices and monitor bandwidth at the home level. For mobile applications, a cell congestion capability enables effective management of backhaul and radio cell congestion during consumption peaks.